November 2002

Embrace Peace

    Doing what we can to protect our emperiled world, we at the Casa have placed a peace message on the back of every bottle of wine labeled this fall.  Here follows the full text of the press release issued by the Casa announcing its peace label.

    “In an unusual gesture, Casa Nuestra Winery has added a peace message to the back label of its 2002 production.  The design shows a dove embracing the earth with her wings.  The globe is fashioned into a peace symbol, and above the graphic appears the words, ‘Embrace Peace’.  Co-owner Gene Kirkham explained his reasons:  ‘In the current world crises, where war and even nuclear war is threatened with chilling casualness, “business as usual” is not enough.  Although a consensus on how peace is to be achieved has not yet arisen in our global community, we can all agree that peace is our unifying objective.  I hope our label may be a bell of mindfulness reminding each person to focus on peace as our common goal’.  Casa Nuestra bottled 1300 cases of wine last month bearing the peace message, including Meritage, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Tinto and Chenin Blanc.  ‘Our bottles and cases pass through a lot of hands’, Kirkham says.  ‘If each imprint is seen by four people, we will eventually reach almost 70,000 people.  Like a note in a bottle tossed out to sea, we have no idea where it may wash up and the good it may do.  I believe that whatever can be done to send a positive message into our suffering world is an important contribution, whatever the numbers may turn out to be’”.


A Full House – Seven Wines to Choose From

    In time for the holidays, the Casa has a full selection of seven different wines to offer you.  We have two white wines, our 22nd vintage Chenin Blanc, and our ever-pleasing White Riesling.  On the red side, we have three new releases, the long-awaited 2000 Cabernet Franc, 2000 Meritage (formerly Quixote), and 2001 Tinto 

St. Helena Estate.  These red selections join the award winning 1999 Merlot and the 2000 Tinto Classico Oakville Estate which were released earlier in the year.  All of these selections are available at this writing, but inventory of some of them, notable the whites, are very low and will surely sell out before Christmas.


1999 Merlot Wins Best of Class

    In a startling debut performance, our first ever entry into the Merlot field has been awarded not just the gold medal but also the “best of class” award at the prestigious competition held by the San Francisco Chronicle.  This “none better” showing in San Francisco was seconded a few weeks later by another gold medal awarded at the state fair competition in Sacramento and four silvers in the remaining mainline competitions in the state.  With its first offering, Casa Nuestra emerged as a top contender for Merlot.  Our ’00 Merlot is a big wine with intense flavor, color and aroma, presaging a long cellar life.  It is a Napa Valley Estate Bottled wine with an addition of 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.  $38 per bottle.  146 cases left at this writing.


New Offering – 2000 Cabernet Franc

    Casa proudly announces release of its long awaited millennium Cabernet Franc.  Casa Nuestra lead the way with this emerging varietal with its premier release, 1986, the first varietal Cabernet Franc program in North America.  Regrettably, we have been sold out of Franc for many months.  We have been offering barrel tastings of our 2000 vintage here at the winery and almost half of the vintage is already sold as pre-release futures.  Now it is offered to the public at large.  $40 bottle/$480 case.


New Release – 2000 Meritage

    This is our most ambitious wine, the top of the Casa line.  In another pioneering move which anticipated today’s trend, our effort began in 1986 to create a proprietary blend of the primary Bordeaux red varieties, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Recognizing that the finest wines of France are blends of this kind, the Casa was ahead of the curve again.  Label regs at that time required us to designate the blend under a generic name.  Long time customers will remember that our first vintages were offered under the name “Quixote”.  We still receive numerous requests under that name.  In recent vintages, we have offered our blend under the name of “Meritage”, which is a name adopted industry wide to designate wines blended from these varieties.  Our last vintage, the 1999, a gold medal winner, sold out within a few months.  Now Casa Meritage is available again in vintage 2000.  $45/bottle.  449 cases produced.


Special Club Selection 099 Cabernet Reserve

    Our next wine club shipment will go out on Nov. 15, and it will include the 2000 Cabernet Franc, the 2001 Tinto St. Helena and a special 1999 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  The reserve Cab is offered preferentially to our club members who receive a 20% discount on every club selection.  We saved out three barrels (about 61 cases) of our ’99 Cabernet Sauvignon for an extra year of barrel aging.  During that extra year in the barrel the overtones of chocolate and caramel have intensified and the tannins have softened.  It makes a big difference.  To get in on this special selection, sign on to the wine club by the end of November.  Members have until the 16th of the following month to reorder any of the selections at the full 20% discount.  So enroll now and learn the secret hand shake on your next visit.


Join Club Casa!

    Our Casa wine club has some irresistible advantages.   Members get to receive and sample our wines on a regular basis in the privacy of their own homes.  They receive priority offerings of some very limited selections from the library among other special releases which are not offered to the public at large.  Here is how it works:  It is free to join and you may cancel at any time.  We automatically send a selection of three bottles each quarter (February, May, August & November) and charge the card you leave on file.  The shipments are discounted 20% from retail and you’ll be able to order more of those selections at the full 20% until the 16th of the following month.  Members also get discounts on all other wines year round, concierge services for visits to the valley and a secret handshake!

New Releases – Chenin Blanc & Tinto

    Dry Chenin Blanc and Tinto are the cornerstones of our program.  Now we offer the 2001 vintages.  Consistent for 22 vintages, these enduring wines never fail to satisfy.  Our Chenin Blanc is fashioned in the noble style of the Loire Valley in France.  It is intensely flavored with a clean penetrating mouth feel.  In a field where there are few choices for white wine, this variety has all but disappeared from the Napa Valley.  Casa customers have discovered the secret and now you are invited to discover it too.  $16 bottle/$192 case

    Our Tinto is a unique red field blend from our St. Helena vineyard (a continu-ation of the blend originating in Oakville, which is now bottled as Tinto Classico).  It is a rare, delicious, and a crowd pleaser.  $19 bottle/$228 case.  These wines are affordable and are packaged under the familiar Casa Nuestra label.


Tinto & Tinto Classico – What’s the Difference

    To keep up with the demand for Tinto, several years ago we took cuttings from the original 60-year-old Tinto Vineyard in Oakville and planted them here on the St. Helena estate.  As the new Tinto vineyard came into production, we combined the fruit from both vineyards, augmenting the supply.  Oakville is now recognized as the premier region for the best Napa red wines such as Martha’s Vineyard (Heitz Cellar) $140/bottle;  Opus One (Robert Mondavi) $150/bottle;  Harlan Estate (available at auction $425 to $1200 per bottle); and Screaming Eagle (available at auction $300 to $1200 per bottle).  The extraordinary premium for the Oakville fruit to those ultra high-end producers for a price commensurate with the bottle price which they charge.  To preserve this unique field mix, we choose to make only a modest adjustment to the bottle price to offer Tinto Classico, an authentic Oakville, old-vine, field mix for $30/bottle.  Bottling the vines separately also allows us to hold the price on our St. Helena Tinto at just $19/bottle, honoring our 22 year commitment to being the best wine value in the Napa Valley.


The New Riesling

    A few years ago we replanted most of our La Jolla Del Norte vineyard to Cabernet Sauvignon to support our Quixote – now Meritage – program.  The replants replaced the Riesling vines which had been planted there in 1966.  Those old vines produced outstanding Riesling wines both for the Casa and for Stags Leap Wine Cellars.  Readers who have tasted those wines surely remember their robust exotic fruity flavors and aromas.  It seemed a terrible shame for this wine to disappear from the planet, and so the Casa saved out seven rows and the fence lines to enable the making of a limited amount of Riesling each year.  We released our 2001 Riesling a few months ago, and most of it is sold, but there are still cases available for your holiday turkey dinners.  The 2001 is in the style of previous Casa vintages, off dry with a slight sweetness, well balanced by the acidity and alcohol.  We have created a new label using an image from the original surrealistic mural which was commissioned for and now adorns the great doors of the winery – an out of this world label for an out of the world wine.  $15 bottle/$180 case.